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Old 12-03-2012, 02:17 PM  
Deberg_1990 Deberg_1990 is offline
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Eddie Van Halen deconstructs his collaboration on 'Beat It'

Interesting....Classic song...classic album



http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/30/showbi...?iref=obinsite




Eddie Van Halen sits on a sofa in his home studio, smoking an electronic cigarette and reminiscing about the 30th anniversary of Michael Jackson's masterpiece album, "Thriller."

"It seems like yesterday, doesn't it," he says softly. "It would have been fun to work with him again."

Van Halen was a surprise guest on "Beat It," the album's third single. His blazing guitar solo lasted all of 20 seconds and took half an hour to record. He did it for free, as a favor to producer Quincy Jones, while the rest of his Van Halen bandmates were out of town.

"I said to myself, 'Who is going to know that I played on this kid's record, right? Nobody's going to find out.' Wrong!" he laughs. "Big-time wrong. It ended up being Record of the Year."

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer recently revealed to CNN what went on behind-the-scenes of his iconic collaboration with the King of Pop.

CNN: When Quincy rang you up, you thought it was a crank call.

Eddie Van Halen: I went off on him. I went, "What do you want, you f-ing so-and-so!" And he goes, "Is this Eddie?" I said, "Yeah, what the hell do you want?" "This is Quincy." I'm thinking to myself, "I don't know anyone named Quincy." He goes, "Quincy Jones, man." I went, "Ohhh, sorry!" (Laughs)

I asked, "What can I do for you?" And he said, "How would you like to come down and play on Michael Jackson's new record?" And I'm thinking to myself, "OK, 'ABC, 1, 2, 3' and me. How's that going to work?"

I still wasn't 100% sure it was him. I said, "I'll tell you what. I'll meet you at your studio tomorrow." And lo and behold, when I get there, there's Quincy, there's Michael Jackson and there's engineers. They're makin' records!

CNN: Did Quincy give you any direction about what he wanted you to do?

Van Halen: Michael left to go across the hall to do some children's speaking record. I think it was "E.T." or something. So I asked Quincy, "What do you want me to do?" And he goes, "Whatever you want to do." And I go, "Be careful when you say that. If you know anything about me, be careful when you say, "Do anything you want!"

I listened to the song, and I immediately go, "Can I change some parts?" I turned to the engineer and I go, "OK, from the breakdown, chop in this part, go to this piece, pre-chorus, to the chorus, out." Took him maybe 10 minutes to put it together. And I proceeded to improvise two solos over it.

I was just finishing the second solo when Michael walked in. And you know artists are kind of crazy people. We're all a little bit strange. I didn't know how he would react to what I was doing. So I warned him before he listened. I said, "Look, I changed the middle section of your song."

Now in my mind, he's either going to have his bodyguards kick me out for butchering his song, or he's going to like it. And so he gave it a listen, and he turned to me and went, "Wow, thank you so much for having the passion to not just come in and blaze a solo, but to actually care about the song, and make it better."

He was this musical genius with this childlike innocence. He was such a professional, and such a sweetheart.

CNN: That collaboration surprised a lot of people.

Van Halen: I'll never forget when Tower Records was still open over here in Sherman Oaks. I was buying something, and "Beat It" was playing over the store sound system. The solo comes on, and I hear these kids in front of me going, "Listen to this guy trying to sound like Eddie Van Halen." I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "That IS me!" That was hilarious.

CNN: How did you explain to the guys in Van Halen what had happened?

Van Halen: I just said, "You know. (Shrugs) Busted!" "Dave, you were out of the country!" "Al, you weren't around!" I couldn't call anyone and ask for permission.

Unfortunately, "Thriller" kept our album, "1984," from going to No. 1. Our album was just about ready to go No. 1 when he burned his hair in that Pepsi commercial, if you remember that. And boom, he went straight to No. 1 again!

CNN: Is there an album since then that has shaken things up in the same way?

Van Halen: Wow, I don't know.

CNN: Some people cite Nirvana's "Nevermind" has one that caused a musical shift.

Van Halen: But still not like that. Not that crossed over to such a mass audience. Nirvana was huge, but it didn't appeal to everyone.

I have a lot of respect for Michael. He's going to be sorely missed. I'd be curious as to what he'd be doing right now.

CNN: I believe Quincy has said he paid you in two six packs of beer.

Van Halen: Yeah, something like that. Actually, I brought my own, if I remember right.

I don't even think I'm credited on the record. It just says, "Guitar solo: Question Mark" or "Guitar solo: Frankenstein" (the name of his guitar).

CNN: Did you ever hear from Quincy again?

Van Halen: At the very end, Quincy wrote me a letter thanking me. It was signed, "The F-ing Blah Blah Blah," which I still have. It's very funny.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:02 PM   #61
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:16 PM   #62
Gadzooks Gadzooks is offline
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Neil Diamond was a legendary "Brill Building" songwriter and he most certainly earns writer royalties on everything he's written. Those guys basically put ASCAP on the map. The only reason his songs aren't getting more film and TV placements is because his publishing company is charging exorbitant sync fees, likely because he feels his music is too "important" to be exploited.

That said, he didn't seem to have a problem with that dopey movie "Saving Silverman" using his music, in which he played himself and had several song uses.

FYI, I LOVE Neil Diamond and my comments are not meant to be derogatory.
I've always thought that bands became successful as long as they had a member who was willing to blow record executives. I assigned this duty to my bass player. I always figured he must have be bad at it (sharp teeth, poor hand technique, ugly face etc…), so I’ve always blamed him for our lack of success. Little did I know that there’s actually more to this whole music business thing.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:17 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by Gadzooks View Post
I always thought that bands became successful as long as they had a member who was willing to blow record executives. I assigned this duty to my bass player. I always figured he must be bad at it (sharp teeth, poor hand technique etc…), so I’ve always blamed him for our lack of success. Little did I know that there’s actually more to this whole music business thing.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:03 PM   #64
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I would like to see Van Halen do their version of Bread's(David Gates) hit song from the mid-70's "Guitar Man" with Hagar singing lead. Eddie would have fun with that because he IS the guitar man. That would be absolutely NUCLEAR !!
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:35 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Gadzooks View Post
I've always thought that bands became successful as long as they had a member who was willing to blow record executives. I assigned this duty to my bass player. I always figured he must have be bad at it (sharp teeth, poor hand technique, ugly face etc…), so I’ve always blamed him for our lack of success. Little did I know that there’s actually more to this whole music business thing.

well, see...that's where you ****ed up; everyone knows that drummers suck the best cock.

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Old 12-04-2012, 07:19 AM   #66
Deberg_1990 Deberg_1990 is offline
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Originally Posted by DaneMcCloud View Post
Okay, here goes:

1. Toto members were session players on every Thriller track, whether it was Lukather, Steve Pocaro, Jeff Pocao, David Paich, etc. and so on. Other great players included Dean Parks, Michael Boddicker and basically the "Who's who" of the LA Session scene.

2. As far as production is concerned, Thriller featured the greatest session players and arrangers of all time including Jerry Hey, Dean Parks, David Foster (who was later a brilliant producer), Humberto Gattica and the amazing Bruce Swedien, who recorded Michael's vocals with a $150 dollar microphone at the time ($349 now), the Shure SM7. Everyone who's ever watched a radio broadcast or been in a radio booth knows the SM7.

Michael was the magic.

3. Michael was not a musician. He couldn't play any instrument. Therefore, he couldn't compose music, hence he didn't actually write every song in which he was listed as writer.

Ghost writers wrote the record and those ghost writers were Toto. This is not uncommon. Ozzy Osbourne can't play an instrument and doesn't write lyrics, yet he's listed as a songwriter throughout his solo career. Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics early on and other writers have been brought in subsequently. I could go on and on and about this subject.

Frank Sinatra couldn't play an instrument and never composed music but in his vast arrogance, suggested that HE received publishing royalties, which are reserved for songwriters and composers only, because HE made the songs famous.

Unfortunately, managers and other artists picked up on this notion down the road and said "I own 50% of whatever you write and record for ME".

The bottom line is that Thriller was a culmination of the greatest musicians and Los Angeles session players the world had ever heard in one singular record. The producers were top notch, from Quincy to Swedien to Gattaca, acting as "engineers" on an amazing record.
Facsinating stuff Dane. Thanks. The songs were great of course, but I think what really put that album over the top was the music videos and MJ's dancing of course. The music video scene was just starting to explode and those videos were true innovations at the time. It was like a perfect storm of things.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:20 AM   #67
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Posts like this are why Dane ****ing rules.
I agree.

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I wish he had expanded on this. I'll bet those kids probably shit themselves.
Believe it or not, one of those kids was a young DaneMcCloud. True story. Maybe.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:53 PM   #68
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:05 PM   #69
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:16 PM   #70
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Michael Jackson working with EVH is almost as unlikely as the Beastie Boys working with Kerry King or Reba McIntire working with Dimebag Darrell.
The Beastie Boys were a rap band in the 80's and even in their punk days were unlikely to come across Kerry King.

The fact that Thriller was written by Toto is really whacked out.
check your facts

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Old 12-04-2012, 02:39 PM   #71
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Ghost writers wrote the record and those ghost writers were Toto.
Yep, dead on. I just saw Toto in Scottsdale this fall and got the VIP treatment. Spoke to Lukather and Paich about Thriller. Told me that they had a blast writing the songs and said they didn't have any misgivings about not getting widespread acclaim for their work on that huge album. Luke did note that he misses the fact that there really are not the opportunities for session work like the old days. He said he used to do 50 or so projects every year an dnow he is down to 1-3 per year
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:43 PM   #72
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EVH at his finest! Extra points if you catch him playing the Iron Man riff.... :-)

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Old 12-04-2012, 03:21 PM   #73
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